After being out of town for over a month, I returned home to a jungle. Well, not quite a jungle. Let me explain.

Prior to leaving town, to visit family in Idaho, Utah, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, I had prepaid a couple of high school boys to mow the lawn.

They forgot.

About a week ago, my son called and mentioned that the grass was 18 inches high, I almost choked. How was I to know the mowers didn't mow? I was visiting family, in another state.

Anyway, I called a friend and she dropped her son off, mower, weed whacker, and all, and he tackled the lawn.

That was four days before I arrived home. Poor boy, it must have taken him several hours to mow.

Anyway, last night, I returned home after driving a thousand miles. I unloaded the car, then walked the exterior of the house. I could see that the grass, weeds, trees, flowers, and acorns, had reproduced.

When I glanced at the back yard, the lawn looked okay, but the oak tree had dropped thousands of acorns. Add to it, the fence line, on all sides, had mini oak trees growing. How welcoming was this sight?

On the east side of the house the lilac tree had grown so tall that it reached the top of the chimney. I don't know if this tree has an attitude. But I haven't gotten any lilac flowers in the past three years. Maybe it needs to be clipped.

In the sloping flower bed by the front door I noticed that my plants were no longer at the top of the slope. My gorgeous flowering plants had slid down the incline and were all bunched together at the bottom of the flower bed. It was the strangest thing. Was there an earthquake or something?

On the west side of the house the five sickly looking rose bushes, which I had left five weeks before, had more roses than I had ever seen.

There had to be a hundred blossoms or more. The weight of the roses pulled the bushes over, and they were hanging almost 3 feet onto the lawn. The bushes looked like they were taking a bow.

The sight of the endless yard work was overwhelming to me. I went to bed.

When I travel I do expect, upon my return, lots of mail, dusty furniture, undone laundry, dishes in the sink, piles of newspapers, and maybe some late due notices.

However, I never expect the yard to be a jungle.

May I conclude with a poem?

The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence.

They water, they mow, and they use common sense.

Although, I paid mowers, a vacation expense,

The grass had grown high and was awfully dense.

A word of advice, may I simply condense?

Instead of grass, just pour some cement.

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at  or visit .